Daily Archives: August 21, 2006

AUR#751 Aug 21 Declaration Of National Unity; Healthy Economy; Holodomor Exhibition; Secret Famine Archives Opened; Wounds That Time Cannot Heal

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               –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
              Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
    Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
Declaration [Universal] of National Unity.
Text Signed at the Round Table
Ukrains’ka pravda in Ukrainian, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, 3 August 2006
Translated into English by Heather Fernuik for the AUR
Published by the Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #751, Article One
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, August 21, 2006
                          TO OBSERVE UNITY DECLARATION
Ukrayinska Pravda web site, Kiev, in Ukrainian 17 Aug 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Thursday, Aug 17, 2006

                            TO YEARS OF POLITICAL TURMOIL 
By Roman Olearchyk, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Wed, August 16 2006

UNION news agency, Kiev, in Russian 1531 gmt 16 Aug 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Aug 16, 2006

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany, Thursday, Aug 17, 2006

     Number of tourists from Russia, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine is growing
Polish News Bulletin, Warsaw, Poland, Wed, Aug 16, 2006


Ukrainian Times newspaper, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, August 21, 2006

                               LANGUAGE STATUS IN UKRAINE
Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 0738 gmt 16 Aug 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Aug 16, 2006


Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, August 17, 2006


                                     WORLD FOR SUPPORT  
Associated Press (AP), Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, August 18, 2006 

UNIAN news service, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, August 17, 2006


         It was one of history’s worst instances of human-sponsored mass death.
               Dispute continues: Was it caused by pardonable errors? Did the
                 Kremlin kill millions of Ukrainians intentionally or by accident.                                 
Deutsche Press Agence (DPA), Kiev, Friday, August 18, 2006


                RELATED TO THE GREAT FAMINE OF 1932 AND 1933
Ukrainian News, Mykola Savchuk, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, August 18, 2006


                            STALIN-ERA FAMINE AS ‘GENOCIDE’
Agence France Presse (AFP), Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, August 19, 2006


Olha Volkovetska, Ukrainian News, Kyiv, Ukraine, April 21, 2006

16.                       WOUNDS THAT TIME CANNOT HEAL
                   The 1930s manmade famine in the Ukrainian countryside
By Oksana Shapova, The Day Weekly Digest in English

Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

17.                           GULAG EXHIBITION: DARK COMEDY
By Andrew Stuttaford, National Review
New York, NY, Tuesday, August 01, 2006

          Ukraine is in post-orange political meltdown while Russia is reinventing
         itself as a successful energy superpower. Right? Wrong, says Alexander
              J Motyl, who looks beneath the surface of a changing relationship
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Alexander Motyl, 17 – 8 – 2006
Open Democracy Online, London, UK, Thursday, August 17, 2006

Declaration [Universal] of National Unity. Text Signed at the Round Table
Ukrains’ka Pravda in Ukrainian, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, 3 August 2006
English translation by Heather Fernuik for the AUR
Published by the Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #751, Article One
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, August 21, 2006

On the eve of the fifteenth anniversary of the independence of Ukraine, a
historic demand and opportunity to unite our own efforts, to achieve
national unity, has been placed before the Ukrainian government, the
political and civil elite of the country, [and] all forces that are not
indifferent to the fate of the Fatherland.

Realizing the responsibility before the Ukrainian people and the complexity
of the current political situation,

Respecting the desire of the people realized in a democratic fashion during
the elections of 26 March 2006,

Striving to resolve the political problems contemplatively and responsibly
and to get down to the resolution of the pressing tasks of economic, social
and humanitarian development,

Aiming for a general national reconciliation, which we believe is the key to
the future of Ukraine and an instrument for the resolution of the current
problems of our society,

Establishing a tradition of national political and public dialogue for
resolving inherited and acquired problems of our state life,

Attesting that  the heart of popular consolidation is the unconditional
abidance to principles of democracy and the respect for human rights
[and] adherence to the European choice of Ukraine,

Confirming the inalterability and irreversibility of Ukraine’s foreign
policy course, specifically aimed at integration into the European Union
and with the goal of strengthening its international authority,

In actions and in deeds, steadfastly governing ourselves by the national
interests of Ukraine, we proclaim a common desire for uniting efforts for
the realization of such priorities of national development as high quality
of citizen’s lives [that is] competitive and based on knowledge of the
economy and effective and just government [that is] integrated into global
processes and respected in the world as a state [and] we agree to the
immediate realization of the:

Plan of Actions to Ensure National Unity

1. The preservation of the sovereignty and integrity, the unitary and
collectivism of Ukraine as inviolable principles of the existence of the

2. The continued guarantee and steadfast upholding of human rights. The
consistent development of such certain achievements of democratic Ukraine
as freedom of speech, free expression of views and convictions.

3. Relying on the organization of the state power established by the
efficacious Constitution of Ukraine, the continuation of the improvement
constitutional regulations of the social relations in Ukraine, the creation
of a balanced system of “checks and balances” among the President of
Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers of
Ukraine, and the reestablishment of the activity of the Constitutional Court
of Ukraine.

4. The guarantee by political forces of the amenability of adopted and
future decisions of all bodies of the state government and bodies of local
administration are in accordance to the Constitution of Ukraine and the laws
of Ukraine.

5. The creation of the political and legal conditions for the unimpeded
activity of the opposition in the elected bodies of power at all levels. The
prohibition of corruption in politics.

6. The reformation of structures of the executive power and rendering
impossible of the politicization of state service through the immediate
ratification of the Laws of Ukraine “On the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine”
and “On State Service” (new edition) prepared for submission to the
Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine by the President of Ukraine.

7. The continuation of judicial reform according to the approved Conception
of the perfection of the judgeship for the strengthening of a fair court
system in Ukraine.

8. The guarantee of the non-interference of political forces and their
representatives in the activity of the law-enforcement bodies, the courts
and the National Bank of Ukraine.

9. The reform of law-enforcement bodies according to European standards, the
alignment of the Criminal Code and legal proceedings in accordance with the
standards and recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council
of Europe, the European Union and the decisions of the European Court on
Human Rights.

10. The stimulation of the development of local administration, the raising
of its role and status by ensuring [its] financial-economic solvency and
reforming of the administrative-territorial structure.

11. The realization of anti-corruption policy at all the levels of the
government through, specifically, supporting the legislative initiatives of
the President of Ukraine in this sphere.

12. The all-around development and functioning of the Ukrainian  all-around
development and functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state
[language] and the language of official communication in all spheres of
public life on all of the territory of Ukraine as the basis for
self-identification of the people and the state. The guarantee to every
citizen of free use in all vital needs of Russian or other native language
freely according to the Constitution of Ukraine and the European Charter
for Regional Languages or the Languages of Minorities.

13. The development of the culture and rebirth of the spirituality of the
Ukrainian people, the guarantee of the integrity of the linguistic-cultural

14. The upholding of freedom of religion. The respectful treatment towards
the unifying aspirations of believers from all Orthodox churches without
interference from the state or political forces in this process.

15. The raising of the standards of living of citizens of Ukraine, the fight
against poverty by means of effective and targeted welfare protection, the
guarantee of dignified wages and a fair retirement security.

16. The establishment of a middle class through the transformation of the
population’s earning policy, development of entrepreneurship and stimulation
of new jobs.

17. The increasing of the accessibility and quality of education, the
popularization of a healthy lifestyle, the reorientation of the health care
system towards human development  and the development of national centers of
combat against tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS, a National Cardiology Center, a
National Institute of Cancer, and an all-Ukrainian health care center for
mother and child.

18. The introduction of principles of scientific-technological and
innovational development, the achievement of an annual rate of GDP growth
of not less than 5%, the stimulation of the creation of at least one million
jobs annually.

19. The carrying out of structural reforms in the economy. The
implementation of a tax reform that foresees the decrease of tax pressure on
the economy by widening the base of taxation, including by means of the
gradual introduction of a tax on property and a single social contribution
from the wages fund.

20. The guarantee of the energy security of Ukraine, the increase in the
effective use of natural resources, energy sources, the introduction of
energy-saving technologies.

21. The increase of effectiveness of agriculture and the government’s
attention to farmers. The introduction no later than 1 January 2008 of a
fully functional land market with a simultaneous financial-organizational
provision and the creation of an essential normative-legal base (laws of
Ukraine about cadastre, value of land and others).

22. The guarantee and protection of property rights by the State.

23. The increase of access and quality of communal services by means of
the development of competitive relations in the area of municipal services.

24. The organization effective economic cooperation with all interested
foreign partners, guided by interests of Ukraine. The immediate passage of
changes to the legislation necessary for entry to the World Trade
Organization and entry to this organization by the end of the 2006 year on
acceptable terms for Ukraine.

25. The continuation of Ukraine’s course of European integration with the
perspective of Ukraine’s entrance into the European Union. The steady
adherence to the Action Plan “Ukraine – EU,” the immediate beginning of
negotiations regarding the creation of a free trade zone between Ukraine and
the European Union.

26. The completion of work regarding Ukraine’s participation in the Single
Economic Space on the principles of a multi-level and multi-speed
integration with consideration of the norms and rules of the World Trade
Organization. The creation on an initial stage of a free trade zone in
without restrictions and exclusions within the framework of the Single
European Space.

27. Mutually beneficial cooperation with NATO in accordance with the Law of
Ukraine “On the Bases of National Security of Ukraine” (in the version that
in effect on the date of the signing of this Declaration). The resolution of
the question regarding entry to NATO as the result of a referendum, which is
taking place after the execution by Ukraine of all necessary procedures for

We are convinced that the realization of the indicated priorities of social
development has to become the distinguishing criterion for the formation and
activity of the coalition, which in its work will rely on new
socio-political mechanisms of cooperation, in particular:

1. The development and implementation of regular public consultations
concerning important questions of social development and state building with
the inclusion in the dialogue, namely, non-parliamentary political forces,
citizens’ organizations and other participants in the socio-political

2. The formulation of effective mechanisms of public control over the
actions of the government. The guarantee of transparency and accountability
of state governmental bodies and local administrative bodies.

3. The guarantee of accountability of the actions of bodies of power to the
national interests of Ukraine, strategic priorities of development,
interests of individual citizens by means of the involvement of political
parties and civic organizations to participation in the elevating of the
effectiveness of cadre politics in the State.

We are convinced that the realization of the clauses of this Universal,
which [articles] will be placed into the foundation of the activity of the
coalition of deputy fractions in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the
Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, is only possible on the condition of
national unity and the consolidation of political forces.

We believe that the cooperation between all the branches of power, political
parties and their fractions in the legislative body and bodies of local
administration, civic organizations, people that enjoy indisputable
authority in society during the implementation the indicated priorities will
unite society.

We are ready to overcome differences, unite efforts, and utilize all
opportunities for the improvement of the life of the Ukrainian people and
the guarantee of the prosperity of our Homeland.

President of Ukraine V. Yushchenko
Head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine O. Moroz
Prime Minister of Ukraine Y. Yekhanurov
From the fraction “Party of Regions” V. Yanukovych
From the fraction “Our Ukraine” R. Bezsmertnyi
From the fraction of the “Socialist Party of Ukraine” V. Tsushko
From the fraction of the “Communist Party of Ukraine” P. Symonenko

Kyiv, 2 August 2006

(Original drafted on 2 August 2006 included a place for Y. Tymoshenko to
sign above from the fraction of the Bloc of Yuliya Tymoshenko and the
following tag:

“Done in the presence of public figures:

L. Kravchuk
I. Plyushch
I. Yukhnovskyy
Y. Sverstyuk
M. Popovych
B. Oliynyk
V. Bryukhovetskyy
M. Zhurovskyy
Y. Zakharov”)
LINK to Declaration of National Unity in Ukrainian:  

FOOTNOTE: The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) received a number
of requests for us to publish a highly accurate English translation of the
Declaration [Universal] of National Unity. The translation above is the
work of Heather Fernuik, Assistant Editor of the Action Ukraine Report
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                            TO OBSERVE UNITY DECLARATION

Ukrayinska Pravda web site, Kiev, in Ukrainian 17 Aug 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Thursday, Aug 17, 2006

KYIV – Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has assured President Viktor
Yushchenko that Ukraine’s integration with NATO and the WTO, the personnel
policy of the cabinet and the language issue are priorities in the work of
the cabinet and will be tackled in accordance with the declaration of
national unity [signed in early August prior to Yanukovych’s appointment as
the prime minister].

Yanukovych said this today during a meeting with Yushchenko in his residence
in Crimea, the presidential press service reported.

Among other things, the conversation focused on prospects for developing
Ukrainian-Russian gas relations in 2006 and 2007.

Yanukovych confirmed that his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin
and Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov showed that Russia is prepared not to
raise the price of gas this year. Yushchenko noted that at the current stage
the prime minister has managed to defend the agreements that the Ukrainian
and Russian governments reached in January 2006.

The president stressed that the declaration of national unity is the basic
document to develop the programme of the new cabinet, in particular on
domestic and foreign policy, Euro-Atlantic integration and the language

Yushchenko said that when taking over as the prime minister Yanukovych
confirmed that all the points of the declaration would be included in the
cabinet’s action programme.

We recall that in Sochi Yanukovych said that he intends to deliver on his
election campaign vows to give Russian the status of an official language as
soon as the coalition has the constitutional majority [of 300 votes in
Ukraine’s 450-seat parliament].

[Ukrainian commercial TV channel ICTV aired the above presenter-read report
over the video of the Yushchenko-Yanukovych meeting. Video showed

Yushchenko talking to Yanukovych in his summer residence.]        -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                          TO YEARS OF POLITICAL TURMOIL 

By Roman Olearchyk, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Wed, August 16 2006

Politically the last few years in Ukraine have been characterised by the
turmoil of a disputed presidential election, a popular revolt and – more
recently – months of gridlock following the indecisive outcome of a general
election. Economically, however, the country has experienced a more benign
time of healthy growth and rising foreign investment.

In the first seven months of this year gross domestic product increased by
5.5 per cent, up from 3.7 per cent in the same period in 2005, according to
official statistics released yesterday. The data underscores a revival in
the rate of growth, which touched a low of 2.6 per cent in 2005 after
peaking at 12 per cent in 2004.

Growth has been driven by a combination of rising world prices for exports,
such as steel, and increased domestic demand. Alongside steel, Ukraine –
once an agricultural and industrial power-house in the old Soviet Union – is
strong in chemicals, agriculture and machine building. Construction,
transportation, textiles and food manufacturing have also grown markedly in
recent years.

“The economy has surprisingly continued to perform quite well,” said
Hans-Joerg Rudloff, chairman of Barclays Capital, who also has personal
investments in Ukraine and serves on President Viktor Yushchenko’s foreign
investment council.

For Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine’s newly appointed prime minister, the
positive economic data is both a blessing and a challenge. While he has
inherited a pretty bullish economy, his government also faces the difficult
task of pushing through unpopular structural reforms needed to secure
longer-term growth and stability.

Among the issues which need addressing are rampant corruption and an overly
complex tax system. Ukraine also needs to broaden its economic base and
reduce its over-reliance on sectors such as steel. The country’s dilapidated
infrastructure, is also in need of urgent improvement. Ukrainians, many of
whom live on less than $200 (Euro157, £106) a month, are also looking to the
government for the benefits of years of economic growth.

The compromise struck between the rivals Mr Yushchenko and Mr Yanukovich,
under which the president’s pro-western policies are largely preserved, has
given some investors cause for optimism that the prime minister will make
progress on the domestic front.

“The feeling that many investors have is that there is now a great
opportunity,” said Edilberto Segura, chief economist at SigmaBleyzer, a
private equity fund manager. The appointment of Mr Yanukovich, who has
strong links to the business community but is seen as close to Russia, was a
welcome resolution to months of political crisis, he said.

Foreign investors have stepped up their activities in Ukraine recently.
Foreign direct investment rose to $7bn last year, up from around $1bn in
previous years, with food manufacturing, banking and agriculture among the
favoured sectors.

Many early bird investors and multinationals, such as Nestlé, Coca-Cola, AES
Corporation, the US-based power company, and leading European cement
manufacturers, sneaked into Ukraine years ago. They have since been followed
by companies such Austria’s Raiffeisen banking group and Leoni, the German
automotive suppliers.

“There are very few markets left in the world where you can produce 30 per
cent growth year-on-year,” said Jorge Zukoski, president of the American
Chamber of Commerce.

But while the potential rewards are big, there could also be pitfalls ahead
for investors. There are fears that inflation could spiral if Russia insists
on raising prices for energy further. Natural gas prices were nearly doubled
earlier this year by Russia. Others worry that Mr Yanukovich will not be
able to enact reforms fast enough.

“The moment of truth has come for Ukraine. If positive results do not become
visible very fast, Ukraine and any government running the country will be in
deep trouble,” warned Mr Rudloff.                          -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


UNION news agency, Kiev, in Russian 1531 gmt 16 Aug 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Aug 16, 2006

KYIV – Ukraine’s growth in foreign direct investments reached 1,698,640,000
dollars in the first half of 2006, which is 250 per cent up year on year,
the UNIAN news agency reported on 16 August, quoting the State Statistics

As of 1 July 2006, foreign direct investments in Ukraine amounted to
18,383,960,000 dollars which is 102.9 per cent up year on year. The State
Statistics Committee said that 1,810,200,000 dollars were invested in
Ukraine in the first half of 2006, however 214.7m dollars were taken away
from Ukraine by foreign investors over the same period.          -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany, Thursday, Aug 17, 2006

FRANKFORT: Vaillant, the German heating and air conditioning technology
company, is forming new subsidiaries in Ukraine and Russia. This comes in
response to rising demand for energy-efficient heating technology.

The company last year saw turnover in eastern Europe rise by 16 per cent to
230m euros, representing 13 per cent of total group turnover.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
     Number of tourists from Russia, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine is growing

Polish News Bulletin, Warsaw, Poland, Wed, Aug 16, 2006

WARSAW – According to forecasts by the Tourism Institute, 19 million
tourists are to visit Poland in 2010 – 2.8 million more than in 2005. This
increase will be achieved mainly due to growing interest from German
tourists (5.5 million in 2005).

The number of tourists from Russia, Lithuania, Belarus and the Ukraine is
also growing. It is estimated that foreign tourists will bring $6.5 million
to the Polish economy in 2006. “I am happy that more tourists are visiting
Poland. This is mainly thanks to investment in tourist infrastructure and
interesting offers prepared by cities and regions.

Things could be even better, if more money was spent on advertising Poland
as a tourist destination,” says Polish Chamber of Tourism Chairman Jan

The Polish Tourism Organisation (POT), whose aim is to attract visitors to
Poland, received only ZL38 million from this year’s budget: “a lot less than
the Czech Republic or Hungary spend, for example,” adds Korsak.  -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Ukrainian Times newspaper, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, August 21, 2006

Ercan Eren, manager of the Turkish law firm Eren Ltd., and Dzhoshcun
Ardakhan, director of the five-star hotel Lyra, visited Ukraine to acquaint
themselves with development of tourism in the country and study problems
holding back an increase in the number of foreign tourists.

At the same time, in consideration of growing interest of Turkish tourists
in Ukraine they plan to map out a number of routes to Odessa and Kiev,
together with the firms YunayaTour and UkrFerryTour. To realize these plans,
the Turkish businessmen supported by the shipping company UkrFerry are
contemplating construction of several hotels near Odessa and in the Crimea.

“Turkish businessmen will invest about $15 billion in the Ukrainian economy
by 2012, particularly in the hotel complex and tourism,” Mr. Eren, who is
also the owner of the chain of Lyra hotels, told the press.

Aykhan Sarach, president of YunayaTour, said there are projects of buying
construction sites for hotels in Odessa and the Crimean town of Alushta.
“According to our estimates, today a room in Crimean four-star hotels is
worth between $150 and $160 a night with breakfast only, whereas Eren’s
hotels will offer a room for $100-120 with full board,” he noted.

P.S. Nestled between Greece and Syria, with the Black Sea to the north and
the Mediterranean to the south, Turkey straddles the fuzzy line between
Europe and Asia. Stitched together from the remains of the old defeated
Ottoman Empire, Turkey is about the size of Texas, with a population of 70
million people, compared with 48 million in Ukraine.

In recent years, the economic picture in Turkey was a bright one. Its $350
billion economy grew by a third between 2002 and 2005. Price inflation,
which was once running around 70% per year, was cut down to under 10%.

It also became a hot spot for global tourism, especially for winter-weary
Germans and Russians.

Tourism brought more than $16 billion in the country last year; several
million tourists visited Turkey as against 200,000 Turkish tourists, who
came to Ukraine. Global capital flows poured steadily into Turkish markets.
Things looked pretty good.

Vainly so far, Turkey has tried to gain access to the European Union. That’s
because Turkey also has problems, the kind of problems the E.U. is not sure
it wants to inherit. And the recent slide in emerging markets has exposed
some of those problems in stark contours. Price inflation is threatening
once again. The lira is selling off, down 21% against the dollar since
April. Unemployment is still high, around 11%.              -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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                               LANGUAGE STATUS IN UKRAINE

Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 0738 gmt 16 Aug 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Aug 16, 2006

SOCHI, RUSSIA, Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has said

that his Party of Regions will continue insisting on changing the Russian
language status in Ukraine.

“I never said we would change our electoral programme which we promised

to Ukrainian people,” he told a news conference in Sochi [Russia] today.

He told journalists that it is impossible to settle down the issue today as
the parliamentary coalition lacks votes to form a 300-member constitutional
majority to amend the constitution with regard to this problem.

“This does not mean that there will be no constitutional majority this year
or in 2007. Once we have a practical chance, we will raise this issue,” he

Meanwhile, he added that at this stage it is “a better idea” to be guided by
the European Charter for [Regional or Minority] Languages which will
“dramatically improve a situation with the usage of Russian language in
Ukraine”, as he believes.

He said that parliament will consider a prepared bill on languages at its
next session. He said it “will clearly set out all the directions in the
usage of Russian and other languages”.                   -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, August 17, 2006

KYIV – The organizational committee responsible for preparing and holding

the 15th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence has approved a plan of festive
events for August 23-25.

Presidential advisor and head of presidential secretariat’s main humanitarian

policy service Markian Lubkivskyi told this at a committee meeting on Tuesday.

Lubkivskyi noted that official events will start on the Day of Ukrainian
Flag on August 23: at 10:00, President Viktor Yuschenko, Premier Viktor
Yanukovych and Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Oleksandr Moroz will lay
flowers at monuments to Prince Volodymyr, Taras Shevchenko, Mykhailo
Hrushevskyi, Ivan Kotliarevskyi and at the memorial sign to victims of the
famine of 1932-1933.

From 14:00 to 15:00, Yuschenko will be presenting state awards at the
Mariinskyi Palace.
“On the Flag Day, a maximum amount of Ukrainian flags will hang on buildings
of state establishments, organizations and enterprises,” Lubkivskyi said.
He said that the monument to Viacheslav Chornovil in Kyiv will be opened at
the corner of Hrushevskoho Street and Museinyi Lane on August 23.
From 9:00 to 9:45 on August 24, priests will be praying for Ukraine at the
Sofia Cathedral, with Yuschenko, Yanukovych and Moroz participating.
At 10:00, Yuschenko, Yanukovych and Moroz are to take part in events on the
Sofiiska Square, where the president will address the Ukrainian people.
From noon to 13:00, Yuschenko, Yanukovych and Moroz will attend festivities
on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kyiv, including the ceremony of raising the state
flag, an artillery salute, motorcycle escort ride and launch of a festive
garland to the sky.
From 13:00 to 16:00, a festive concert will take place on Maidan
Nezalezhnosti with the participation of national bands of Ukraine. At 19:00,
a concert for youth will start, which will end with a salute at 22:00.
On August 25, Yuschenko, Yanukovych and Moroz are to attend the opening
of a memorial to the Heroes of Kruty in Chernihiv region.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, on August 8, Yuschenko renewed the
membership of the organizational committee on preparations for the fifteenth
anniversary of Ukraine’s independence.
Yuschenko withdrew former Ukrainian Premier Yurii Yekhanurov from the
membership of the committee and at the same time, dismissed him as the
committee’s co-chairman.
Besides, Family, Youth and Sport Minister Yurii Pavlenko and former
ministers have also been withdrawn from the committee’s membership:
Transport and Communications Minister Viktor Bondar, Justice Minister
Serhii Holovatyi, Construction Minister Pavlo Kachur, and Ex-Vice Premier
Viacheslav Kyrylenko.
Vice Premier and committee’s co-chairman Dmytro Tabachnyk, Justice Minister
Roman Zvarych and Transport and Communications Minister Mykola
Rudkovskyi were included into the committee’s membership.
Ukraine was declared an independent state on August 24, 1991.      -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                                     WORLD FOR SUPPORT  
Associated Press (AP), Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, August 18, 2006 

KIEV – President Viktor Yushchenko Friday urged a gathering of ethnic
Ukrainians living abroad to work together to support the country’s efforts
to solidify democracy and revive the economy.

Yushchenko told the crowd of some 3,500 people from 45 countries he was
aware of widespread disappointment among many Ukrainians after he allowed
the nomination of his Orange Revolution rival Viktor Yanukovych as prime

But he appealed to them to work together to “see Ukraine free, its citizens
well-to-do, and the power -democratic.”

Yushchenko spoke at a three-day conference ahead of the nation’s 15th
anniversary of independence next week.

Many Ukrainians abroad watched with concern as parliament earlier this month
confirmed as premier Yanukovych, whose fraud-tainted run for the 2004
presidency sparked the Orange Revolution mass protests. Yanukovych

received strong Kremlin backing during his campaign.

Ethnic Ukrainians living abroad tend to have strong nationalistic
tendencies, and Yushchenko has been greeted with standing ovations and
hero’s welcomes in visiting Ukrainian communities abroad – such as in
Chicago or Philadelphia, which have sizable Ukrainian concentrations.

Yushchenko defended the decision to join with Yanukovych, saying he had

set aside emotions and chosen “democracy to the very end.” If he hadn’t, he
said, the political paralysis that ensued after the March parliamentary
elections would have triggered an economic crisis.

The choice, he said, is either “conflicts, uncertainty, economic decline and
collapse…or the table of negotiation and understanding.”

Iryna Dzyubynska, who has lived in Miami for 14 years, lamented the state of
affairs in Ukraine and said she had high hopes after the Orange Revolution
protests. Hanna Popovych, from the western Ukrainian region of
Ivano-Frankivsk, said people should expect this new government to fail and
should prepare to elect a new, better leader.

“We should give Yanukovych time to fail, then demand the resignation of his
government, Yushchenko’s impeachment, and revote,” she said.      -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


UNIAN, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, August 17, 2006

KYIV – The Holodomor 1932-1933 Commemoration Exhibition at the IV

World Forum of Ukrainians, in the Exhibition Hall on the 5th floor of the
Ukrainian House, Kyiv, Ukraine, August 18-24, 2006 is part of a Holodomor
education and memorial exhibition program organized by Morgan Williams.

Williams serves as Director, Government Relations, Washington Office for
SigmaBleyzer, an emerging markets private equity investment group.

SigmaBleyzer has been operating in Ukraine for 13 years and has over $150
million invested in Ukrainian businesses.

Williams began collecting Holodomor works by Ukrainian artists ten years ago
when he lived in Kyiv and was working on the economic development of the
Ukrainian food system, from producer to consumer.

From 1933 to 1988 the Soviet government did not admit that millions and
millions of Ukrainians were forcefully starved to death during 1932-1933 in
what is now called the `Holodomor`, the forced terror, famine, death in

 For over 55 years artists of all types in Ukraine were not allowed to
express themselves through their artistic works about the horrible tragedy
imposed on Ukraine. The repression for everyone in the Soviet Union
regarding real information about the Holodomor was very severe.

Only a very small handful of real photographs exits about the Holodomor.
Most of the photographs, said to be taken during the Holodomor in Ukraine,
were actually taken along the Volga River in Russia during the famine of
1921- 1923.

These photographs were first used by the Germans in 1935 for a large anti-
Soviet campaign and then by American media-mogul Randolph Hearst
in front-page stories for his many newspapers.

The Holodomor Education and Commemoration Collection in Kyiv has grown

over the years and now represents around 400 items including paintings, poster
art, graphics, linocuts, folk art, photos and other items.
Williams first exhibited the collection in Kyiv at the Ukrainian in November of
2000. Additional memorial exhibitions were held in the Ukrainian House in Kyiv
in November of 2003 and 2005.

The exhibition in 2005 was opened in Kyiv November 24th on the eve of the
Holodomor Memorial day. President Viktor Yushchenko launched a large program
to tell the world about the Holodomor during the 75th memorial commutation
in 2007-2008.

The Holodomor exhibition at the IV World Forum of Ukrainians represents only
one-half of the collection. The other half is now held in a traveling
exhibition sponsored by the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture. Holodomor
Memorial Exhibitions are being held in 21 major cities throughout Ukraine
during 2006.

Williams is working on a special historical album entitled “The Holodomor
1932-1933 Through The Eyes of Ukrainian Artists” is being created in
cooperation with the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Lidia Lykhach of

Sets of posters about the tragedy are also under consideration that would be
distributed to Ukrainian embassies around the world by the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs. Several international exhibitions are also under consideration.

In May of 2004 Williams in cooperation with the Ukrainian Federation of
America in Philadelphia created the Dr. James Mace Memorial Holodomor Fund.
The Fund now supports the ongoing program and is the trustee of the artworks
purchased from donor funds. Williams now serves as archivist of the

A Gulag Education and Commemoration program has also been launched in

memory of those Ukrainians who suffered under Stalin’s Gulag repression

Additional support for the Holodomor Education and Exhibition Program has
been provided by the Kiev-Atlantic Group, David and Tamara Sweere; Estron
Corporation; Bahriany Foundation; SigmaBleyzer; Odum, Association of American
Youth of Ukrainian Descent, Minnesota Chapter; The Bleyzer Foundation;
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA; WJ Group of Ag Companies, Eugenia
Sakevych Dallas, Alex and Helen Woskob, the Swift Foundation, and the
Ukrainian Federation of America, Dr. Zenia Chernyk.

The Collection is always seeking historical information about the Holodomor
and about artists around the world who have used their talents to express
this tragedy. For further information contact Morgan Williams, P.O. Box
2067, Washington, D.C., 202 473 4707, morganw@patriot.net.  -30-

LINK: http://www.unian.net/eng/news/news-163938.html
NOTE: Morgan Williams is a member of the Organizational Committee for
the 75th Anniversary of the Famine in Ukraine 2007-2008 appointed by the
Cabinet of Ministers.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
 If you are receiving more than one copy of the AUR please contact us.
       It was one of history’s worst instances of human-sponsored mass death.
     Dispute continues: Was it caused by pardonable errors? Did the Kremlin kill
                    millions of Ukrainians intentionally or by accident.                                 

Deutsche Press Agence (DPA), Kiev, Friday, August 18, 2006

KIEV – Ukraine’s national intelligence agency the SBU on Friday opened up
formerly-secret state archives on brutal Soviet era-famines causing the
deaths of millions.

SBU historians after four years of reviewing old KGB records made public
more than 3,000 pages of 130 official state documents.

It was the first time any former Soviet republic had released to the public
archival information concerning the mass starvations, said Vasyl Danielenko,
an SBU spokesman.

The entire formerly-classified archive of the former Soviet republic Ukraine
was now available for viewing in paper or digital format, or at the Internet
web site www.ssu.gov.ua, he said.

The Soviet government in its early years of existence presided over three
deadly and wide-reaching famines – in 1921-22, 1932-33, and 1946-47.

Between six and ten million Ukrainians died of starvation in 1932-33, after
Soviet leader Josef Stalin ordered the forced confiscation of food from the
Ukrainian countryside.

It was one of history’s worst instances of human-sponsored mass death.

Many Ukrainians believe Stalin’s goal was the genocide of the Ukrainian
nation. Known in Ukraine as the ‘Holodomor,’ the 1932-33 famine is reviled
in Ukraine in a way similar to the Jewish Holocaust internationally.

Some Ukrainians however say the famines were caused by pardonable errors by
Soviet leaders of the day, rather than an conscious effort by Moscow to wipe
out all Ukrainians.

Besides Ukraine, the famines affected southern Russia, and portions of the
modern states Moldova and Kazakhstan.

The dispute over possible Soviet complicity in the famines has remained
topical in Ukraine to the present, in part, because historians had been
unable to gain access to Soviet-era archives concerning the events, to
determine whether the Kremlin killed millions of Ukrainians intentionally or

by accident.                                  -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
             Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
               RELATED TO THE GREAT FAMINE OF 1932 AND 1933

Ukrainian News, Mykola Savchuk, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, August 18, 2006

KYIV – The Security Service of Ukraine has declassified the documents of the
State Political Department also known as GPU of the Ukrainian Soviet
Socialist Republic concerning the Great Famine of 1932 and 1933 that were
deposited in the state archive of the SBU.

Serhii Bohunov, the head of the state archive of the SBU, announced this at
a presentation of the electronic collection of the documents. He said the
SBU had collected the documents in the archive and the archives of regional
bodies for three or four years.

The SBU has collected and declassified 130 documents, including resolutions
of the GPU of the USSR, directives, instructions, statements by witnesses,
and files of criminal cases. The SBU has declassified 5,000 pages of

Bohunov said the documents allows to see the general picture of the role of
the bodies of the GPU in the organization of the Great Famine, though this
is the task for historians to release findings.

Maryna Ostapenko, press secretary for SBU, said the SBU has declassified all
documents deposited in its archives. he documents are available at the state
archive of the SBU and most of them have been posted on the official Web
site of the Ukrainian special service. [www.ssu.gov.ua]          -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

                         STALIN-ERA FAMINE AS ‘GENOCIDE’

Agence France Presse (AFP), Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, August 19, 2006

KIEV – Ukraine hopes to persuade the United Nations to recognise that the
great famine of 1932-33, which killed up to 10 million Ukrainians, was
genocide, a senior foreign ministry official said Saturday.

“We now have much more witness testimony and facts proving that this was

a terrible page in the life of the Ukrainian people… that claimed up to 10
million victims,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Mykola Maimeskul at a forum
on the famine in Kiev.

Ukrainian experts charge that under Josef Stalin Soviet authorities
intentionally brought about the famine in order to weaken Ukraine’s nascent
independence movement.

The famine has been blamed on the programme of forced collectivisation

of land begun in 1932 and the seizure by authorities of seed, wheat, flour,
vegetables and livestock. Estimates of the death toll range from four
million to 10 million people.

Jacob Sundeberg, president of an international commission set up to
investigate the famine, declared on Saturday that the facts supported the
use of the label genocide. “No doubt, the Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933

does fit the UN definition of genocide,” he said.

In a separate statement, he said: “I find that lethal intent was directed at
the Ukrainian nation as such”.

Less severe famines occurred in Ukraine in the years 1921, 1923, 1946 and
1947.                                             -30-

NOTE:  Your AUR Editor attended the Holodomor Forum and was one
of the four persons asked to make a formal presentation. 
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Olha Volkovetska, Ukrainian News, Kyiv, Ukraine, April 21, 2006

KYIV – The acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Borys Tarasiuk has attributed
Russia’s position on the devastating famine in Ukraine during 1932-1933
(also known as Holodomor) to its being unwilling to give appraisal to the
crimes by the communist regime.

Tarasiuk made a statement to this effect at a news briefing following the
most recent Foreign Ministers’ meeting of the Commonwealth of Independent
States (CIS).

He reported to journalists the voting results on Ukraine’s proposal that the
Holodomor should be declared an act of genocide, saying that only four
countries voted in support of this proposal.

Commenting on Russia’s position, Tarasiuk said that Russia is making
attempts to confirm itself as a successor state to the Soviet Union on the
one hand, but, on the other hand, refuses to assume the responsibility for
the crimes committed by the country to which it is the successor.

This is apparently the unwillingness to give appraisals to what had happened
and what the communist regime had done,” Tarasiuk said. The [Holodomor]
issue was only a procedural question that was not even put up for
discussion, he emphasized.

“Basically, in normal international organizations procedural questions are
[always] approved,” Tarasiuk said.

As Ukrainian News reported before, Russia, in a statement issued on April
21, opposed the situation with declaring the severe famine in Ukraine in
1932-1933 an act of genocide against the Ukrainian nation to be politicized.

During the vote on April 21 on including the issue of declaring the Famine
1932-1933 an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people on the agenda for
the Foreign Ministers’ meeting of the CIS nations, the proposal was only by
supported four nations: Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, while
Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan voted against, and
Armenia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan abstained from voting.

Ukraine intends to prepare a document before 2007 on declaring the 1932-1933
Famine in Ukraine to be an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people, in
the hope that this would be adopted by the United Nations Organization.

President Viktor Yuschenko recently called on the leaders of all countries
to recognize the 1932-1933 Famine in Ukraine as an act of genocide against

The parliaments of several countries have recognized the famine as an act of
genocide. In November 2003, 25 member-countries of the United Nations
Organization drafted a joint statement that described the famine in Ukraine
as a result of the policies of a totalitarian regime. Other states later
aligned themselves with this statement.

The Ukrainian parliament declared the famine to be an act of genocide in
2003. According to various estimates, between 3 million and 7 million people
died in the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine.                    -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                  The 1930s manmade famine in the Ukrainian countryside

By Oksana Shapova, The Day Weekly Digest in English

Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The following story recounted by an 85-year-old woman reflects the history
of an entire generation. Let us call her Vira (“Faith”).

It is not her real name, but it reflects the essence of many people who
lived through the Holodomor, World War II, and the repressions but still

had faith in the justice of a system that promised them a “radiant future,” a
dream that enabled them to tolerate their darkest days.

Vira was born in 1920 in a village in the Odesa region. She became a
semi-orphan on the first day of her life, when her mother died in
childbirth. The father raised his daughter on his own until he remarried,
and Vira got an elder stepsister and later a stepbrother.

Vira clearly remembers the events of the 1930s to this very day.

Collectivization was completed in the countryside by 1932. No wages were
paid on the collective farm. Every villager had to complete 120 workdays in
one working season. If someone failed to meet the target, s/he had to
provide an explanation.

At year’s end, after the harvest was gathered, the greater part of it was
consigned to the state, and a certain percentage of the remainder was
divided into the number of days worked and then distributed among the
peasants in the form of grain, peas, etc.

In 1932, when it came time to distribute the earnings, it turned out that
absolutely everything had been requisitioned. As people gradually found out,
they began to contemplate using the previous year’s reserves for the next
year. At this very time the government decreed that all “surplus” grain and
other foodstuffs be consigned to the state because “the country’s working
class was starving.”

The collective farmers refused to obey, in response to which the government
launched the so-called “kulak dispossession campaign.” The first villager
whom this fate befell was a neighbor of Vira’s. He and his family lived in a
low-set thatched house resembling the one where Taras Shevchenko had been
born and raised.

There were a lot of children in the family, and all of them worked on their
land. No hired workmen had ever set foot on their plot. Vira had never seen
the mother of these children and thought they were orphans.

Those who carried out the kulak dispossession requisitioned everything down
to the last grain. They did not harm the master of the house, although many
so-called kulaks were arrested and sent “up the river.” This farmer was
famous in the village because he had golden hands: he was especially good at
making knee-high boots.

After his dispossession, in order to be able to keep body and soul together,
he began visiting other villages to mend footwear. He would bring home the
food that he was given as payment: he would never eat it himself and was
steadily becoming emaciated.

One day, on his way home from work, he fell and died of starvation. He was
the first casualty of the Holodomor in this village. All the villagers paid
him their last respects. Nothing is known about the destiny of his children
because nobody ever saw them again.

As the dispossession campaign was in full swing, searches were conducted
every other day, if not every day. They usually came at night, pounding on
the door and shouting, “Open up, it’s a search!” The people would open their
doors and then stopped locking them altogether.

Activists of the village “Committee of Poor Peasants” conducted these
searches. Vira recalls that they would pry into every corner of the house
and the backyard. They would take everything away, no matter how many
children there were in the family, or what age they were.

Vira’s peers, as well as younger and older children, stayed out of school.
Instead, they would go to the harvested fields early in the morning to look
for something edible. It was a great joy to find a mouse hole with a handful
of grain inside.

Whoever found such a hole would be overjoyed, while the other children
looked on with envy. A wonderful find was an ear of corn or a frozen carrot.
The children would put this into their bag and carry it home.

This lasted until the heavy snowfalls arrived. When the ground was covered
with snow, the famine intensified. People ate everything they could get
their hands on. There was not a single fowl, pig, or cow left in the
village – even dogs and cats began to be eaten. People were bloating up and
starving to death. Word spread that a mother had eaten her own child in a
neighboring village and that human corpses were also eaten.

Vira’s father looked for a job elsewhere. Since he was good at repairing
sewing machines and other mechanical appliances, he would walk to
neighboring villages. He would set out at dawn and come back late at night.

More often than not people had nothing to give him, so he would return home
empty-handed. Although his feet ached and became swollen, he left home every
day in the hopes of finding something to feed his family.

Once he was given some millet. This was a real treat for the entire family.
Chary of bringing the millet inside, he hid it in the yard. A search party
came that same night. When they had finished, the father went outside to get
the millet, only to see that it had disappeared.

Vira can still see her father going inside the house, tormented and swollen,
sitting down on the floor, and weeping for a long time. The rest of the
family cried with him.

People died every day. They would fall dead right on the street, in the
fields and houses; they were no longer buried or mourned. Pits were dug and
several corpses were thrown inside one of them.

Soon after, Vira’s 14-year-old sister went to Odesa to apply to a vocational
school attached to the Lenin Cannery. She was admitted and assigned a place
in the dormitory. Each student was given 400 grams of earthen-black bread a
day. The sister did not eat even a tiny morsel of these 400 grams: she would
dry the bread on a primitive metal stove and put it into a basket.

When the basket was full, the girl told her school teachers that her family
was starving, and they allowed her go home for two days in order to bring
the dried bread.

Vira’s sister took the Odesa-Kharkiv train, clutching the basket containing
the treasure for her famine-stricken family. But when the skinny 14-year-old
girl reached her destination and stepped onto the railway station platform,
a policeman came up to her, took her by the scruff of the neck, and dragged
her to the police station. There, he spread out a mat, emptied out the whole
basket, spanked the girl, and threw her out.

After walking 12 kilometers to her village, she came into the house and,
unable to say a word, squatted down and wept long and hard over the empty
basket. The basket was empty and so was the child’s soul.

There is pain that cannot be described with words; there is profound despair
that can only be compared to hell. Tears cannot take this pain away, time
cannot dull it, and medicines cannot kill it – the memory of this is a
lifelong open wound.

After crying her heart out, Vira’s sister, hungry and desolate, went back
the same day.

During this period so-called torgsins (shops for foreigners), began to crop
up. In these stores people could exchange their belongings for food. Vira’s
father once visited a shop like this.

His wife had left a beautiful wedding dress, a reminder of a dear person who
was no longer alive. Ignoring the lump in his throat, father took the dress
to the torgsin. In exchange, he was given a small loaf of bread blacker than

At home, Vira’s father cut the bread into pieces for each child to eat. It
seemed to Vira that she had never eaten anything tastier in her whole life.
Yet she managed to swallow only one morsel: the next swallow sent her

throat into a spasm. She began to choke and everyone rushed to help her.

 What an indescribable treat a tiny piece of earthen-black bread can be for
a person robbed of the right to be a human and for whom the words
“protection” and “care” can only be associated with her own father, not the

With the appearance of vegetation in the spring of 1933, people began eating
grass, especially thick nettles. There had been no animals in the village
for a long time. Peasants gradually began to sow vegetables, mainly beets,
some potatoes, parsley, and dill. Little by little, bread began to appear,
as did the hope of survival.

Vira recalls renting a room in a neighboring village, where she attended
school. When she would leave her home after a weekend, she usually took some
beets. Once in her room, she would divide them up for the entire week. It
was a real feast when her father could give her some beans.

In 1935 Vira was admitted to a “working people’s faculty.” She was paid a
scholarship that barely sufficed for corn flour. This flour had to be
thinned in boiling water and then drunk. The girl used to take a glass of
this “beverage” and go to classes. She had to content herself with the same
drink for supper, so she always suffered from a hunger-induced headache.

Sometimes Vira would just sit and cry. This only intensified the headache
but perhaps dulled her spiritual pain. This lasted until October 1937, when
Vira, a first-year student at a medical institute, received her first
“excellent scholastic achievement grant.” For the first time in years she
bought some halvah and bread and appeased her hunger.

She clearly remembers the time when she ran out of corn flour and money

and had nothing to eat for three days. Then her stepmother’s sister suddenly
came to visit Vira and gave her three rubles.

It was evening, but Vira, forgetting even to say thank you, rushed to where
some old women were selling corn flour. Although it was late, she managed

to buy a few glassfuls of this flour. In her heart Vira still carries that
unsaid “thank you.”

Vira can recount many more things: about the war that claimed the lives of
all her relatives, the post-war devastation, etc. There are millions of
destinies like this, not dozens, hundreds, or thousands.

Those who lived through all these events are the bearers of history that has
been etched on the heart, a history that is impossible not only to forget
but which cannot be converted into a mere succession of historical facts,
happenings, and dates.

These people are re-living it every day of their lives. They wake up and
fall asleep, looking back on the past with a fear that this might reoccur
some day. In the past this fear would compel them to put away for a rainy
day most of their earnings. But those savings became the same emptied
baskets as the one Vira told us about.

Only God knows how much love and care it takes to ease their tormented
hearts. Whoever considers himself human cannot help bowing to the memory

of these people and do his best to alleviate their sufferings today and ensure
that tomorrow will not create a hell on earth.                  -30-
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/159910/
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
17.                  GULAG EXHIBITION: DARK COMEDY

By Andrew Stuttaford, National Review
New York, NY, Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sometimes there can be nothing more telling than contrast. The boat sailing
in the sunshine of a July 4th weekend was filled with anticipation,
exhilaration, tourists, New Yorkers, the yellow t-shirts of the Jones family
reunion, and the pointing and squinting of countless digital Kodak moments.

Ahead lay Ellis Island, its museum of immigration, and, tucked away in a
corner of that museum’s third floor, an exhibition (Gulag: Soviet Forced
Labor Camps and the Struggle for Freedom) dedicated to a monstrosity that
had its origins on some very different islands, islands scattered in the
White Sea, islands that became (in Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s words) the
“mother tumor” of a cancer that eventually metastasized into an archipelago
of terror, slavery and murder all across the Soviets’ gargoyle “union.”

It stretched so far, in fact, that to reach some of its most dismal,
desolate, and destructive outposts, the camps at Kolyma, took a boat trip
too. There was no exhilaration on these ferries to an underworld darker than
Hades, just death, hunger, squalor, rape and disease. The only anticipation
was of worse to come.

Annotated illustrations by one former prisoner, Evfrosiniia Kersnovskaia,
displayed in this exhibition showed what awaited the guests of her
particular corner of the Gulag.

They were glimpses of a drained, pitiless world, populated by predators and
their hopeless, helpless victims, illuminated only by the surviving shreds
of Kersnovskaia’s humanity and the bleak poetry of her furious prose. Here
she recalls her own arrival at a “corrective labor camp”:

“First we were made to strip naked and were shoved into some roofless
enclosures made out of planks. Above our heads the stars twinkled; below our
bare feet lay frozen excrement. An enclosure measured 3 square feet. Each
held three to four naked, shivering, and frightened men and women.

Then these ‘kennel cages’ were opened one after the other and the naked
people were led across a courtyard .into a special building where our
documents were ‘formulated’ and our things were ‘searched.’

The goal of the search was to leave us with rags, and to take the good
things, sweaters, mittens, socks, scarves, vests, and good shoes, for
themselves. Ten thieves shamelessly fleeced these destitute and barely alive
people. ‘Corrective’ is something that should make you better, and ‘labor’
ennobles you. But ‘camp’? A camp wasn’t a jail. So then what on earth was
going on? “

This exhibition never quite told us. What it did do was give a sense of what
life, death, and the condition somewhere in between (they even had a word
for that) in the Gulag was like.

Sometimes this was achieved by the display of a few simple objects, such as
a crude handmade spoon; a luxury in the camps (prisoners were expected to
eat with their hands). Sometimes it was just the stories of the victims


Take Maria Tchebotareva, for example. The regime did. Her photograph was on
display. She was sad-eyed, broad-faced, head-scarfed, an icon of the Slavic
heartlands. In happier times she might have been imagined as backdrop to
some Tolstoyan pastoral idyll, but she found herself trapped instead inside
a real, far darker script.

Her ‘crime’ was to steal three pounds of rye from the field the state had
stolen from her. She had four hungry children to feed, and in the famine
years of 1932-33 (oddly no mention was made of the fact that that famine,
known to Ukrainians as the holodomor, was man-made, and left millions of
deaths in its wake) and nothing to feed them with.

She served twelve years in the Gulag for those three pounds, followed by
another eleven in Arctic exile. She never saw her children again. For the
Tchebotarevs there was to be no family reunion.

In 1949 they took Ivan Burylov too, a middle-aged beekeeper stung beyond
endurance by the hypocrisy of it all. His offense? To write the word
 “comedy” on his supposedly secret ballot paper (there was, naturally, only
one candidate).

They tracked him down. Of course they did. They gave him eight years. Of
course they did. We’re never told whether he survived, but his ballot
endured (it was included in the display), and in its acerbic, laconic way,
it was as effective a monument to the USSR as any I’ve seen.

Another such monument, but this time specifically to the cruelty and
futility of Soviet rule is the “Belomor” canal. Carved through the roughly
140 miles of granite that divide the White and Baltic seas, it was a
typically pharaonic scheme of the early Stalin era involving well over
100,000 prisoners with primitive tools (pickaxes, shovels and makeshift
wheelbarrows) and a lack of precision that would have shocked the ancient
Egyptians: it proved too shallow and too narrow to ever be of much use.

As a killing machine, however, the Belomor project worked very well. In her
history of the Gulag, Anne Applebaum cites an estimate of 25,000 dead (there
are others, far higher), but no number was given in this exhibition, just
the bland adjective “many.”

That was fairly typical of an exhibition that too often shied away from
specifics. That was a mistake: the statistics and the details count, if only
as a warning for the future, a warning that, judging by one statistic that
was included, has yet to be properly heeded. Polls in Russia show that
“approval” (whatever that might mean) of Stalin’s leadership has risen from
7 percent to 53 percent over the last ten years.

That’s not to say an attempt was made to minimize the horror that was the
Belomor. Far from it. Most striking was a continuous loop of old propaganda
newsreel purporting to show the enthusiasm of the prisoners, drones of the
anthill state, as they clawed, dug, and hacked their way to reform,
rehabilitation, and socialist reconstruction through the rock, swamp, and
snow; and, yes, just like in Hitler’s camps, there was an orchestra.

A few feet further down the corridor (somehow the immigration museum’s still
visibly institutional character added to the force of an exhibit dedicated
to a state run amok) was yet more footage: those familiar parades of the
weapons of Armageddon, syncopated gymnasts and marching ranks of regimented
enthusiasm, but also, more revealingly, film of a young factory worker
shouting her praises of great Comrade Stalin, the edge to her voice
betraying the collective hysteria that always lurks somewhere within the
order, discipline and control of a totalitarian system.

Much of the rest of the exhibition was dedicated to Perm 36, a logging camp
set up in the wake of World War Two, that, after the end of Khrushchev’s
brief “thaw,” was used to imprison, torment and sometimes kill the Kremlin’s
most determined opponents, the bravest of the brave, who persisted in their
political work even after serving earlier sentences, men like the Lithuanian
Balis Gayauskas.

Undaunted by two years in Nazi custody, 35 years in the Gulag, and a further
three years in exile, this extraordinary individual had the last laugh – he
was elected to the parliament of a Lithuania that had itself won back its

That happy ending is a satisfying reminder of the USSR’s ignominious
collapse, but before reaching the inevitable pictures of a tumbling Berlin
Wall, the exhibit took time to pay tribute to the tiny band of dissidents,
who for long, lonely years did what they could to preserve the idea of
freedom in lands that had known too little of liberty.

Naturally, the giants were featured, Solzhenitsyn, the great chronicler, Old
Testament in his wrath and grandeur, the gentle-souled, iron-willed Sakharov
and, of course, Sakharov’s wife, the spiky, indomitable Bonner, but so were
others too, lesser-known, but no less courageous: Sergei Kovalev, Ivan
Kovalev (father and son), Tatiana Khodorovich, Tatiana Veilikanova, Grigorii
Pod’iapolskii, Anatolii Krasnov-Levitin, Valerij Senderov, Tatiana Osipova
(Ivan Kovalev’s wife), Levko Lukjanenko, Leonid Borodin, and Vasyl Stus.
Remember their names. Remember their sacrifices.

It would have been unreasonable to think that this relatively small
exhibition could ever have illustrated the full scope of decades of Soviet
tyranny, but it was disappointing that it never really managed to answer
Evfrosiniia Kersnovskaia’s haunting question: “What on earth was going on?”

It wasn’t just a question of the exhibition’s missing statistics. The bigger
problem was the failure to put the Gulag into its wider context. The
impression was somehow left that the camps were primarily a means (albeit
brutal) of providing the manpower for “Stalin’s campaign to turn the Soviet
Union into a modern industrial power,” something that sounds if not exactly
benign then at least more reasonable than the description that this
murderous system actually deserved.

Certainly, forced industrialization was part of the story, but it’s an
explanation that obscures the camps’ significance within a far more
ambitious plan.

Why Soviet Communism, a poisonous blend of millennial fantasy, imperial
dream, paranoia, and psychosis, to name but a few of its sources and
symptoms, evolved in the way it did is the subject of potentially endless
debate, but in understanding the way that the dictatorship managed to
maintain its grip for so long, it’s necessary to realize that the Gulag was
just one part of a network of terror, mass murder, and oppression intended,
by eliminating all inconvenient traces of the past, to remake man into a cog
in the new, perfect and all-encompassing Soviet machine. That is what was
going on, something that this exhibition never truly managed to convey.

Despite this, its joint organizers, Perm’s Gulag Museum and the National
Park Service, should be congratulated for doing something to bring the often
overlooked horrors (and lessons) of the Gulag to wider attention over here
(after closing at Ellis Island on July 4th, the exhibition travels to
Boston, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Independence, California).

The fact, controversial to some, that space was found to note that many
other countries (including the United States) have, like today’s Russia,
found it difficult to come to terms with brutal systems that have defaced
their histories, should be seen as a statement of the obvious, not some
underhand attempt to play down the extraordinary evils of the Soviet past.

But if you want to consider how much more remains to be done in this respect
in Russia itself, remember the disturbing poll I mentioned earlier, and,
while you are at it, reflect on the fact that according to Memorial (an
organization dedicated to keeping alive the history of Soviet repression)
between 2002 and 2005 30 monuments to Stalin were erected in the territories
of the former USSR, There are, reportedly, plans for another 20 more.

Now ask yourself what the reaction would be if Germans began putting up new
statues to Adolf Hitler.                          -30-
[return to index] Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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       Ukraine is in post-orange political meltdown while Russia is reinventing
      itself as a successful energy superpower. Right? Wrong, says Alexander
            J Motyl, who looks beneath the surface of a changing relationship.


Open Democracy Online, London, UK, Thursday, August 17, 2006

Here’s a puzzle. Throughout the 1990s, Ukraine and Russia were
quasi-democracies with authoritarian features. By 2001, they began moving in
the direction of greater despotism.

But then their paths diverged. Ukraine’s trajectory shifted toward democracy
during and after the “orange revolution” of late 2004. In contrast,
President Vladimir Putin’s Russia has become a full-fledged authoritarian

Why was Putin able to succeed in establishing a dictatorship while Ukraine’s
president Leonid Kuchma failed? Although differences in personality and
leadership style matter, the answer lies in both countries’ institutional
legacies and the difference in their approaches to change.

The Soviet Union was an empire, but Ukraine and Russia occupied different
places in the imperial structure. Ukraine was the object of imperial rule –
a periphery – and emerged from the Soviet empire without a functioning state
apparatus and skilled elite.

Russia was the subject of that empire – the metropole – and inherited an
imperial state apparatus and highly skilled elite. Ukraine lacked state
institutions and was hard-pressed to pursue reform in their absence.

Russia possessed state institutions, but of a bloated and reactionary kind
that served as an obstacle to democracy, the rule of law, and the market.
Ukraine’s first two presidents, Leonid Kravchuk (December 1991-July 1994)
and Leonid Kuchma (July 1994 to January 2005), avoided radical change,
thereby enabling political institutions and a strong democratic opposition
to emerge.

Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin (December 1991-December 1999) pursued
radical change and, tragically, thereby polarised Russia’s political
parties, weakened the state, and created an under-institutionalized
political environment that facilitated the emergence of a strong
anti-democratic ruler.
                                   NEIGHBOURS APART
Although the prevailing mood in Ukraine almost two years after the orange
revolution is one of profound disappointment, Ukraine is a far different,
and better, country today. It has opened itself to the world. It is
democratic and free, even if chaotically so.

Civil society and the media are robust, open debate is the norm, foreign
direct investment has boomed, and the rule of law has improved. Ukraine
remains poor and corrupt, but, unlike Belarus and Russia, it is anything but
an authoritarian state with a dictatorial leader and a passive population.

How could a democratic breakthrough take place in a country known for
systemic stasis and government deadlock? Paradoxically, the “stagnation” of
the 1990s made the orange revolution possible. It takes time for
institutions – or valued rules of the game – to take hold. They “stick” only
after people use them repeatedly and come to view them as effective,
valuable, and “natural”.

Since such rule-based behaviour evolves slowly, almost invisibly, many
observers failed to see that Ukraine had become transformed since
independence in 1991, when it was a post-totalitarian and post-imperial
“space” without the institutions of a state, the rule of law, democracy, a
market, and civil society.

That changed in the last fifteen years. A state apparatus and skilled
administrative elites emerged, parties were established, regular elections
were held, popular activism grew, and market relations took hold (today
two-thirds of GDP is produced privately).

Because all political players practiced “formal democracy”, Ukraine’s
fractious parliament never submitted to the increasingly authoritarian
president, Leonid Kuchma.

That made him vulnerable to pressure from civil society and encouraged him
to forge alliances with economic clans that benefited from crooked
privatisation schemes. The result was a rough balance of power between
parliament, president, civil society, and business.

Kuchma’s illegitimate regime crumbled during the orange revolution, when
civil society rose in protest, and parliament and the oligarchs stood on the
sidelines. Constrained by a constitution invoked by everyone, the
revolution’s protagonists and antagonists resolved the crisis by negotiating
(not by shooting, as in Russia in 1993), thereby enabling the people to
elect Viktor Yushchenko president.

In stark contrast to his Ukrainian counterparts, Russia’s Boris Yeltsin
attempted to introduce radical change by means of “shock therapy” in the
early 1990s. Although supported by many in the west, the policy was doomed
to failure.

A strategy of “revolution from above” could not work without the active
intervention of the state, but the post-imperial Russian state bureaucracy
was anything but revolutionary or even reformist.

The inevitable failure of Yeltsin’s attempted revolution fatally weakened
the radical reformers as a political force. His policies also polarised the
political spectrum, thereby leading to the consolidation of both the extreme
left and the extreme right, undermining Russia’s nascent democratic
institutions, and enabling the president to emerge as Russia’s supreme
political figure.

Faced with chaotic economic change, polarised politics, and increasingly
uncertain rules of the game, state ministries and provinces tried to grab as
much authority as possible, both because it was there to be grabbed and
because grabbing it protected them from the assaults of an imperious central

The resulting fragmentation of the state enabled forces associated with one
of the Soviet and Russian state’s most efficient agencies – the secret
police – to emerge in the late-Yeltsin era and take control of the
government and, increasingly, the state. Small wonder that a former KGB
officer – Putin – succeeded Yeltsin as president and that state
consolidation became his overriding programmatic goal.

Since the revolutionary democrats appeared to have been responsible for the
state’s fragmentation, state consolidation assumed anti-democratic and
anti-reformist dimensions. Under conditions such as these, the free press
and civil society could easily be viewed as obstacles to state
consolidation, especially when pursued under the auspices of the siloviki
from the security services.

Since coming to power, Putin has methodically dismantled Yeltsin’s
quasi-democracy and replaced it with authoritarianism. He has muzzled the
press, emasculated the parties and parliament, staffed the government with
his cronies from the security services, co-opted the oligarchs, extended
state control over the economy, and terrified civil society.

Hoping to appeal to Russians angry at the loss of empire and superpower
status, Putin has also played on great-power and imperial nostalgia,
nationalism, and patriotism, vowing to crush all of Russia’s enemies, the
Chechens in particular.

In 2005, Putin even declared the collapse of the Soviet Union the “greatest
tragedy of the 20th century.” Were such changes taking place in the 1930s,
they would be called fascist.
                            THE LASTING ORANGE LEGACY
The rough power balance between parliament, president, civil society, and
business in Ukraine ensures its continued democratic development. It also
means that systemic change will remain incremental and frustrating.

Unconsolidated democracies move slowly, Ukraine’s constitution is a recipe
for government volatility, and its corrupt political and business clans will
resist reforms that undercut their interests.

The March 2006 parliamentary elections and their aftermath are a case in
point. Ukrainians expected the elections to be fair and free, as indeed they
were. The results – with 32% of the vote going to the Party of Regions (PR),
22% to the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, 14% to the pro-presidential Our Ukraine
bloc, 6% to the socialists, and 4% to the communists – were also accepted as

The “blue” PR, which represents the oligarchic interests of Ukraine’s
Russian-speaking and anti-orange eastern rust belt, behaved democratically
before, during, and after the ballot. Its leaders are demagogues and
oligarchs, but they appear to know that the constitution is the only game in

With the communists, whose candidate for president won 38% of the vote in
1999, having been demolished, the PR could now become Ukraine’s equivalent
of “post-communists”.

Attempts by the orange forces – the Tymoshenko Bloc, Our Ukraine, and the
socialists – to form a governing coalition produced months of horse-trading
and paralysed government. After they finally signed a coalition agreement in
late June, some socialists bolted and joined the PR and communists,
provoking further rounds of mud-slinging before the decision of Viktor
Yushchenko to nominate Viktor Yanukovich as prime minister on 3 August
brought the messy standoff to an end and inaugurated a new political phase.

Ukrainians were disgusted by their leaders’ infantile shenanigans, but the
seemingly endless post-electoral negotiations did show that Ukraine’s
politicians, like their counterparts in other democratic countries, were,
despite deep personal animosities, resolving their differences according to
the rules of the game.

Our Ukraine’s parallel negotiations with the PR about a blue-orange
coalition, like the socialists’ decision to back the blue forces, also
testified to an emerging consensus on centrist principles. Blue and orange
agree that Ukraine should be an independent, democratic, multinational, and
law-governed state with a market economy.

They insist on the inviolability of the constitution; want a vibrant
parliament; support a free press, a market economy, and cultural tolerance;
and oppose Ukraine’s fragmentation.

They believe further that Ukraine should enter the European Union and the
World Trade Organisation and maintain good relations with Russia and the
United States. Unsurprisingly, they also disagree violently on many
policies, such as Ukraine’s joining Nato, relations between Kyiv (Kiev) and
the provinces, the pace of privatisation, and the status of the Russian

Notwithstanding the fireworks, Ukraine’s squabbling elites are searching
for, and finding, a modus vivendi in an institutionally democratic country
that is as suited today as Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia were in 1989
to consolidate democracy and the market. Moreover, in contrast to the Kuchma
years, Ukraine’s politicians must also answer to an empowered population.

Some five million, primarily young, people took part in the orange
revolution. For Ukrainians in general – and especially for those in the
formerly quiescent blue eastern provinces – the revolution was a defining
moment that forced them to abandon their apathy, take a stand, and become

The PR faces an especially difficult task. It must adapt to democratic rules
and answer to a mobilised populace that detests corrupt – even if
Russian-speaking – oligarchs.
                                 THE RUSSIAN PROBLEM
Thanks to its enormous geographic, military, demographic, and economic size,
Russia will always be a challenge for its non-Russian neighbours, Ukraine
included. Sadly, Russia currently is, and is all too easily perceived as,
also a threat to them because it has become – thanks in large part to
Vladimir Putin’s predilection for strong states, grandiose mythmaking, and
zero-sum thinking – neo-imperial, xenophobic, authoritarian, and unstable.

The Kremlin hopes to resurrect a sphere of influence in the “near abroad”.
Too many Russians openly dislike non-Russians. Putin has constructed an
unapologetically authoritarian state whose elites view democracy as a
threat. And Russia is a “petro-state” beset with weak political
institutions, inefficient government control of a resource-based economy,
pervasive corruption, and high instability.

Whatever such a post-Weimar Russia does – from waging a “gas war” against
Ukraine to banning Georgian wine to promoting its legitimate economic and
security interests – it evokes deep suspicion among non-Russians. That most
Russians support Putin is even more cause for alarm.

Ukrainians have ambivalent feelings about Russia in general and Putin’s
Russia in particular. All speak Russian and know Russian culture intimately,
and most have close ties with family and friends in Russia. But many also
resent the general Russian disdain for Ukrainian language and culture and
the widespread Russian view of Ukraine as a wayward province that will, in
time, come to its senses and return to Mother Russia’s fold.

Over half of Ukrainians prefer the west to Russia, about one-fifth are
unconditionally pro-Russian, and about one-third want to find a balance
between Russia and the west. Thanks to Putin’s neo-imperialism and
authoritarianism, that third group has been placed into an untenable
position and is tilting increasingly toward the west.

Kyiv’s response to geopolitical reality and divided domestic loyalties has
been, is, and will remain to try to maintain good relations with Europe, the
United States, and Russia. The brute fact of an enormous Russia right next
door means that Ukraine can never be too close to or too distant from it.

No Ukrainian elite with even a minimal commitment to the independence of
their own state can wilfully pursue the loss of sovereignty that an
unconditionally pro-Russian policy would imply. Even the bombastically
pro-Russian foreign policy of Alexander Lukashenko is premised on Belarus’s
continued existence. By the same token, neither can Ukraine’s elites just
snub their noses at Russia.

As a result, Ukraine has little choice but to pursue a foreign policy that
is neither pro-Russian nor anti-Russian, but anti-anti-Russian. In turn,
anti-anti-Russianness constrains the degree to which Ukrainian foreign
policy can be pro-western. The foreign-policy behaviour of Ukraine’s three
presidents – Kravchuk, Kuchma, and Yushchenko – reinforces this point.

Once elected, and regardless of whether their campaign slogans were more or
less anti-Russian or more or less pro-western, all settled into the
geopolitically determined space defined by the two poles of
anti-anti-Russianism and moderate pro-westernism.

However hard it may be to satisfy the competing interests of all three, Kyiv
has no alternative to a reactive “multi-vector” policy – unless Russia
forces its hand. The more neo-imperial, xenophobic, authoritarian, and
unstable Russia becomes, the more will Kyiv have to move toward the west,
regardless of whether Ukraine has an orange, blue, or orange-blue
                                   RUSSIA’S WEAKNESS
Although Ukraine looks weak, its political institutions are actually in
pretty good shape. Russia looks strong, but its political institutions are
weak and unstable. Just as revolution from above was not a viable option for
Yeltsin, so authoritarianism is not a viable option for Putin.

Although Putin may be in control of the Russian state, the state itself is
brittle. Elites are at loggerheads, ministries promote their own interests
and fight over budgetary outlays, and coordination and cooperation in the
pursuit of policy ends is minimal.

The formal subordination of the regions and governors to the
“super-governors” and the centre, for instance, by no means signifies that
they really are beholden to Moscow’s wishes. Quite the contrary, the regions
are as avidly pursuing their interests today as they did in the past, but
they are doing so less visibly and less vocally.

Because the state remains weak and the rule of law has not been
consolidated, economic growth will continue to benefit at most a small
segment of the population. The example of third-world states shows that
authoritarian state-building can all too easily acquire pathological
characteristics, especially when institutions are non-existent or weak.
State building then becomes a source of patronage, and the state apparatus
becomes an obstacle to modernisation.

Russia’s ongoing transformation into a petro-state will only make things
worse. Energy-based states with weak political institutions are always
deeply corrupt states. They accumulate vast and easy wealth, which corrupt
elites invariably misappropriate. And oil states are rarely stable.

Russia’s turn toward neo-imperialism may be Putin’s biggest mistake. Many
Russians are angry at the loss of empire and feel humiliated by their
demotion to the status of a “third-world country with the bomb.” Putin has
purposefully and effectively played the nationalist card and revived a
variety of symbols associated with Russia’s or the Soviet Union’s glorious

He has also appropriated a “tough guy” rhetoric, both at home and abroad,
that bespeaks self-confidence and promises greatness. And he has acted
vigorously in defence of the nation and the state, especially in Chechnya,
where the war has become an uncompromising fight to the finish. It is not
surprising that his popularity ratings remain extremely high.

Unfortunately, the combination of continuing state weakness and growing
foreign-policy boldness is a recipe for “imperial overreach” and disaster.
The tougher Russia gets, the tougher it sounds, the more it gets involved in
playing the great power that it cannot be, the greater the gap between its
aspirations and capabilities and the greater the likelihood of a systemic

There is little reason to expect Putin to change course any time soon. The
Russian people support him, and the Russian democrats are too weak to
challenge him. The European Union has been quiet. And the United States has,
thanks to the Bush administration’s moral bankruptcy, lost the right to
lecture the Russians.

Russia’s rush toward systemic breakdown is thus likely to continue. The
crash will be messy, but when it comes, Russia will finally have no choice
but to be a democratic state that pursues amicable relations with its
neighbours.                                         -30-
Alexander Motyl is professor of political science and deputy director of the
Center for Global Change and Governance at Rutgers University, New Jersey.
Among his books are Dilemmas of Independence: Ukraine after Totalitarianism
(1993) and Imperial Ends: the decline, collapse, and revival of empires
(Colombia 2001).

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